Nepal's political mechanism finalises code of conduct

The three-member High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) headed by Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala finalised the Terms of Reference on Friday.

The mechanism, which also has opposition Maoist chief Prachanda and CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal as members, is aimed at ending the current political deadlock and drafting the Constitution within the stipulated timeframe of May 2010 to take the peace process to its logical conclusion.

The panel is looking at ways to forge understanding and collaboration among political parties, said Nepali Congress central member Krishna Sitaula.

The mechanism will be expanded soon to include top leaders of other political parties, such as the Madhesi groups, to give it a complete shape, he said.The leaders also agreed to hold the mechanism's meetings every week and sort out any differences among the political parties through dialogue, Sitaula said.

During the panel's meeting on Friday, top leaders underlined the need to forge unity and pursue the politics of consensus and collaboration in order to complete the peace process and write the Constitution as per schedule.

The aim of taking the peace process to a logical end and to draft the Constitution within the May 28 deadline can only be fulfilled if the political parties work in unison forging cooperation and collaboration, Sitaula said.

The Terms of Reference of the mechanism says that "parties will control all kinds of physical assaults and activities targeted against cadres of other parties."
The code of conduct says that cadres of political parties should be cautious so as not to blame other parties while making public statements.

The meeting also decided to ask the government to expedite the task of setting up of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Disappearance Commission in order to address the issue of human rights violations.

Maoists have withdrawn their planned indefinite strike from Sunday after the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML urged the party to call off the agitation in order to create conducive atmosphere to move forward the peace process.

However, the Maoists said that they would continue other protest programmes demanding restoration of "civilian supremacy" and "preservation of national independence."

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